Little people are learning about the world using their five senses. Food is a huge part of this. Different tastes and textures, slippery spaghetti and crunchy crackers. It’s fascinating stuff (just like swishing jelly through your teeth and smooshing pear through your fingers).
Food should be interesting and varied. As soon as you start making baby food, be creative. I’ve found babies love things like mushroom, capsicum and squash puree. I make little cubes of all sorts of fruits and veggies and then mix and match to keep the little ones interested.
As they grow, they get preferences for certain foods, which is great. Try to keep their diet varied though, it’s easy to just offer the chicken fingers five nights a week because you know they like them. Kids, like adults, get bored of eating the same foods and will quickly start refusing the stuff they once loved.
It’s important to remember that toddlers generally wont eat something they don’t recall seeing before. That means that you should expect to offer those olives at least three times before they will be interested in tasting it. So don’t give up!
So your little person point blank refuses to eat what you offer, without tasting it. Tell them that it’s fine that they aren’t hungry and excuse them from the table. If they aren’t hungry enough for dinner, they aren’t hungry enough for something else. When they ask for food, continue to offer them their dinner. Don’t make them something else. This is a trap I see so often. Parents prepare three meals every night, toddler eats none and takes the final option (usually dessert or a bottle before bed).
They are quick to catch on, whichever path you choose. And remember a toddler will NEVER starve themselves. =)